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Slaughter wins mayor

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Supporters of Derek Slaughter celebrate after Slaughter was declared the new mayor of Williamsport at James Place on election night.

City native Derek Slaughter became the next mayor of Williamsport, according to unofficial election results on Tuesday night.

The Democrat received 2,918 votes to Republican Eric Beiter’s 2,166 votes, unofficial results stated.

Slaughter, a councilman and mathematics teacher at the high school and college levels, ran a campaign focused on a promise to be a mayor overseeing an administration of transparency, efficiency and accountability.

Slaughter stood with his wife, Vanessa, and daughter, Chloe, who turned 6 Tuesday night, and his son, Jayden, 8, at the James Restaurant with other Democrats and thanked Williamsport voters.

He was the first Democrat to be elected mayor since 1987, he said. Slaughter noted he ran a clean campaign and he congratulated his opponents, Eric Beiter, a Republican general manager of his family-owned business, and incumbent Gabriel J. Campana, who ran a write-in campaign in the fall to seek a fourth, four-year term. There were 91 write-in votes, according to unofficial election results. The write-in votes will be tabulated and be a part of the official count that begins on Friday.

Beiter also congratulated his opponent. Beiter ran a race that featured a contract with Williamsport, a list of promises that he said voters could revisit as he progressed.

Throughout his campaign, Slaughter asserted the administration was demonstrating financial mismanagement and vowed to bring transparency he claimed was needed back in City Hall with an administration that would be held accountable to and by the taxpayers.

Slaughter voted against this year’s $25 million budget and a .065-mill tax hike because of what he asserted to be “inaccurate” budgetary figures. He also recently said a $2 million line of credit was a condition of financial mismanagement.

Beiter had a platform that said it was time for a “fresh start,” and a “business” approach to managing the daily rigors of the mayor’s job.

Beiter and Slaughter advocated for talks to explore the relocation of city government, working with the county officials to find an appropriate location because City Hall had too many costly repairs and requirements to make it accessible under federal handicapped law.

Slaughter said there were many key issues the city is facing such as the levee recertification, Grafius Run flood mitigation and stormwater management requirements.

But his signature platform and often-repeated phrase was no more unnecessary spending should continue until the city’s financial house was restored and there was a full accounting of what is available and unavailable in the city coffers.

Campana, who said he watched returns from home, said he was hopeful that the next administration can continue with the economic development projects, including east of Market Street, known as East Third Street/Old City Gateway Revitalization Project. He was first elected in 2007 and took oath in 2008 winning successive campaigns until he unsuccessfully ran for the Republican Party nomination for county commissioner in the spring primary. Then, a few weeks ago, he said he was launching a write-in campaign and attacked his opponents’ lack of experience but called each of them “good men.”

“This has been a great day for Williamsport,” said Morgan Allyn, chair of the Lycoming County Democratic Committee. “Electing Councilman Slaughter to be our next mayor is a significant milestone in the city’s history,” she said, adding how city residents are leading the county by growing away from “blind loyalty to the old political networks to voting for a candidate — not because of party, but because they are the right candidate to get the job done.”

Allyn noted these include an electorate of younger voters, environmentally-minded voters and those seeking to serve the public.

“A fair and save electoral process is what keeps this county strong,” she said.

The unofficial tally indicated Slaughter also had significant cross-party support throughout the campaign season.

Democrats appear to be committed to engaging younger voters in the electoral process, promoting them to political leadership positions, and supporting them when they step up to run for office, according to the unofficial election turnout.

“We will vigorously promote political candidates who pledge their commitment to government accountability and transparency,” Allyn said.

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